How to be a Good Gamer: Card Game Strategies

This week in my tutorial on how to become a better gamer I’ll be talking about card games. To be clear, this means strategy card games specifically such as Magic the Gathering, Yu-gi-oh, Pokemon, The Elder Scrolls Legends, etc. Card games on their surface may feel like they take mostly luck and a matter of having better cards, and in some small cases both of those aspect do impact a match. However, the greater part of card games does require a great amount of strategy and meta-gaming that can turn around any match. How you build your deck as well as when and how you use your cards in a match make up the majority of what separates successful players from players with a big losing streak. So let’s take a look at what you can do to become a better card player.

First let’s talk about deck building. Now whether it’s Magic the Gathering, Yu-gi-oh, or Pokemon, most card games have card types/elements. Any veteran player will advise you that the best way to maximize your deck effectiveness is to try to keep your deck focused on one or at most two elements. If you’re really new to whichever card game you choose, stick to one element to make things a bit simpler. The main reason for this is that many cards can complement each other based on type and increases your chance to draw a card that benefits you now. Say for instance you’re playing Yu-gi-oh, and you have an equipment spell card that only benefits water type creatures, and your deck only has three or four water type creatures in it. Chances are, that card won’t benefit you for some time and now you’re stuck with a useless card in your hand. So having a deck full of creatures of one or two elements means you can fill your deck with spells/equipment that benefit nearly all of your creatures and now just a few.

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Many games also have a secondary attribute as well. If possible, try to limit this as well to two or three groups for similar reasons. This is especially helpful in games such as Magic the Gathering where this secondary attribute may create an effective advantage for you, such as flying creatures that may not always be possible to attack. Next thing to look at is a good balance for your deck. Nearly all card games have both creature and non-creature cards such as spells, traps, equipment, and environment cards. In general you should have at least twice as many creature cards as you do non-creature cards if not more. But, as usual, let me give you the reasons as to why. Non-creature cards are a boon, they support your creatures and protect them from the enemy cards. That being the case, non-creature cards mostly only benefit when used in conjunction with creatures. On the other hand, creatures do not require non-creature cards to be useful. They make up your main line of offense and defense, and in most cases you always want an available creature on the field. Lastly, don’t think you can win a match just by stacking your deck with powerful creatures. Most of the more powerful creatures in card games require several steps and/or sacrifices to be properly used and are often destroyed by other means such as spells and traps rendering their benefits nearly pointless. Your best bet is low to medium strength creatures and give them buffing non-creature cards to strengthen them when need be.

Now let’s talk about strategies during a match. It’s very easy to get caught up in a couple of bad habits. For instance, if you have a pair of cards that really work well together and during a match you get one of these two cards into your hand. You may be very tempted on hoarding this card until you get the second card. This will leave you going several turns without making a move that could benefit you which is detrimental to the match. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer is to strategize with what you have, not what you may get. When it comes to strategy games it may sound counter-intuitive to not be thinking several steps ahead, but when your future steps hinge greatly on chance and probability, you’re better off turning your focus to the here and now and your next immediate move. If your next best move requires sacrificing that card you’ve been hoarding, it’s more than likely better to do so.

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Lastly, most games have a limitation on how many creatures you may put on the field in one turn. Because of this it may be tempting to put a creature on the field as soon as you possibly can and attempt to fill the field with as many monsters as possible so that you may attack as many times as you can in one turn. The main issue with that is there may be several cards that wipe the field clean thus ruining a good portion of your creatures and may leave you without backup. Having one or two creature cards kept in your hand to replace fallen creatures on the field is always a good idea. And if the game involves trap or quickplay cards, try to be proactive in every move and have a backup for each action in case it gets countered or cancelled.

And that wraps up the tutorial for card game strategies. Next week I’ll tackle yet another gaming genre and give you guys the full details on how to improve your strategies! I hope this info helps you all out and gets put to good use!

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